The 2022-2023 Brownbag Seminar Series

The Figure of the Lonely Elder: The Politics of Aging Policy in Ghana

As part of the African Studies Brownbag Seminar Series, the Institute of African Studies (IAS) invites you to join us on Wednesday , January 25,  1 – 2:30 pm  for online presentation ( Zoom)   by Prof. Cati Coe about The Figure of the Lonely Elder: The Politics of Aging Policy in Ghana. 

Africa is known both for having a primarily youthful population and for its elders being held in high esteem. However, this situation is changing: people in Africa are living longer, some for many years with chronic, disabling illnesses, and many feel anxiety about whether their kin will care for them. In Ghana, with an increasing number of people living over the age of sixty, government policy on aging is relatively moribund, relying on the orthodoxy of “the traditional family” for elder care. Into the void created by state inaction, older adults in conjunction with social institutions are exploring new kinds of support for aging adults. This talk will focus on programs animated and justified by the figure of the lonely elder developing within churches and the effects of those programs in raising the visibility of some older adults. It will also explore these initiatives’ potential to influence state policy on aging. Ultimately, the talk argues that these innovations in elder care are happening in fits and starts, in episodic and scattered ways, visible in certain circles more than others, but are indicative of social change on aging and kin care.

Cati Coe is a Professor in Political Science at Carleton University, with research interests in transnational families, care work, and aging. The most well-known of her many publications are The Scattered Family: Parenting, African Migrants, and Global Inequality and The New American Servitude: Political Belonging among African Immigrant Home Care Workers.

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